FORT RUCKER, Ala. – Col. Stephen W. Owen assumed command of the Aviation Center Logistics Command from Col. Rich Martin June 23 at Fort Rucker, Alabama, in a virtual ceremony hosted by Commanding General of U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Maj. Gen. Todd Royar. Royar hosted the ceremony from AMCOM headquarters at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Commanding General of U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence Maj. Gen. David Francis, stood in for Royar locally during the ceremony.
The ceremony also marked the change of responsibility for the ACLC Command Sergeant Major from Sgt. Maj. Jerry Cowart to Sgt. Maj. Nicholas D. Burney.
The requirement to hold a virtual ceremony was a result of continued social distancing and safety measures put in place in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Royar provided remarks following the passing of the unit colors and thanked the ACLC team for their resilience and hard work during Martin’s tenure.
“The team’s results have been remarkable,” said Royar. “Col. Martin and Sgt. Maj. Cowart were able to change the game at ACLC and move the team forward in providing improved Army readiness. They did all this while assuming even more responsibilities; picking up missions at Fort Sill and Fort Huachuca. Truly an outstanding leadership duo leading an all-star team.”
Martin passed the colors to Owen after two years leading ACLC where he provided full spectrum maintenance, supply and contractor oversight in order to ensure availability for all Aviation training mission requirements in support of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Rucker and Fort Benning, Georgia.
During his departing speech, Martin reflected on the contributions of people.
“In fact, they (the statistics) aren’t what I’m the most proud of after two years…..instead I’m going to talk about people,” Martin said during his final remarks to the ACLC team. “Two years ago I said ‘we are in this together. My, how those words have changed in meaning, but are even more important in today’s context. We, collectively, persevered, improved and accomplished what many literally told me we could not do. For two years, I said ‘I don’t care what shirt you wear’ – whether you are in uniform, a DA Civilian or a contractor— if you are on our team and you support our efforts – that’s all that mattered.”
Martin added, “It is the maintenance personnel – from the mechanic, technical inspector and production control teams, to skilled artisans and supply personnel. These [ACLC] men and women make sure that aircraft are ready to fly. They enable Army readiness.”
Owen, a native of Littleton, Colorado, comes to ACLC after serving as the director of the USAACE Directorate of Training and Doctrine at Fort Rucker. His Army aviation career has taken him around the world and included many command and staff positions. Owen is a Senior Army Aviator qualified in the CH-47F Chinook helicopter and is a graduate of the CH-47D Instructor Pilot and Maintenance Test Pilot courses. He is also a graduate of both the Airborne and Air Assault courses. He deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times during his 23-year career.
Burney, who hails from Osceola, Missouri, enlisted in the Army in 1998 as an AH-64 Apache maintainer. During his 22-year career, he has supported Army aviation units across the globe and, most recently, he served with the128th Aviation Brigade, Fort Eustis, Virginia. He also deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan during his career.
Royar had one charge for the incoming commander and sergeant major: Keep winning!
“At the end of the day, this is not a short game,” Royar said. “We in the Army are in this for the long haul. Col. Martin and Sgt. Maj. Cowart got us way ahead in the game, but we are not done yet. The game is not over. I have absolute confidence that Col. Owen and Sgt. Maj. Burney will lead ACLC to new heights. Winning does matter, and the Army can’t afford not to win. The new leadership team at ACLC is going to make us successful in the future and continue winning. Army Strong!”
Owen concluded the change of command ceremony by addressing his new commander and his unit.
“General Royar, I know that command is a privilege,” Owen said. “I will do my best every day to live up the trust you have place in me. To the men and women of ACLC, it has been truly humbling to learn about all that you have accomplished. Though we will celebrate our successes, we will never be entirely satisfied. Our job requires that we continue to treat every aircraft sortie, every vehicle service and part requisition as missions that contribute to Army readiness – because that is exactly what they do. There is no other place I would rather be than here with you. Winning matters – Vigilant Six signing in.”